White Deer Land Museum

Fairview Cemetery Began In 1904

The first grave in Fairview Cemetery was that of C.B. Dobbs who died of heart disease on August 23, 1904. Dobbs was found dead in his bed that morning and, in compliance with his wish, he was buried on the “highest hill” in Pampa . At that time there were no ministers, no undertakers, no embalmers and not very many people in Pampa — a small village of less than 200 population.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Dobbs had been employed by White Deer Lands to put in a demonstration farm just west of Kingsmill on the north side of the railroad track. His son, Pat Dobbs, was looking after cattle of the Chase Brothers of Kansas in the Buffalo Pasture of White Deer Lands. The Buffalo Pasture, located immediately west of Pampa on the north side of the railroad, contained about 30,000 acres of land. C.B. Dobbs had a little house in this pasture.

T.D. Hobart, manager of White Deer Lands, had been authorized to deed 10 acres of land for a cemetery, but the land had not yet been surveyed. Early on the morning of Dobbs’ death, Hobart, Will Wilks and M.K. Brown surveyed the 10 acres and located the grave site. Then Wiley Vincent, Charlie Tignor, Pat Dobbs and Brown dug the grave. Joe Lewis also helped.

While the grave was being dug, Wilks drove Sam Case to Dobbs’ house. There Case shaved and dressed the body and laid it out to be placed in the coffin which Brown ordered from Johnson Mercantile Store at Miami , a larger town than Pampa .

The coffin arrived on the train the next morning and Brown drove out to Dobbs’ house where several men placed the body in the coffin and loaded it in the land company’s hack. The back seat of the hack was removed so that it could be used as a hearse.

Back in Pampa , the men unhitched the team, fed the horses and had dinner in the section house. News of Dobbs’ death had spread and people from nearby ranches around Lefors came to take part in the burial ceremony.

After someone suggested that it would be proper to have prayers said at the grave site, Brown went to the little office building (318 W. Atchison ) and got his Church of England Prayer Book from his trunk. At the cemetery he read the scriptures, psalms and prayers that he had used when burying the dead while he was in Africa during the Boer War. He also played the small portable organ that had been ordered from the Jenkins Music Company in Kansas City .

Several women sang the hymn, “Rock of Ages.” These women included Mrs. J.S. Wynne, Mrs. Charles McCarty, Mrs. Sam Case, Mrs. A.A. Holland, Miss Annie Thut, Mrs. T.H. Lane , Mrs. J.C. Rider, Mrs. Henry Lovett, Mrs. J.M. Bell and Mrs. J.E. Mongole. Most of their husbands were also in attendance at the grave site.

The first burials in Fairview Cemetery were those of C.B. Dobbs in 1904, Emsley Jackson in 1905 and Ransom Case, father of Sam Case and Mrs. T.H. Lane, in 1906 (1907 on gravestone). William Manson Hughey, father of I.B. Hughey, died in 1905 at another location and his remains were moved to Fairview at a later time.

Nearly four years after the first burial, the Fairview Cemetery Association had its first official meeting on April 4, 1908, in the White Deer Land office. These officers were elected: J.T. Crawford, president; R.E. Williams, vice president; Mrs. E.E. Talley, treasurer and I.B. Hughey, secretary. The organization took steps to prepare a charter.

A meeting was held on August 8, 1908, in the White Deer Land office. These motions carried: (1) fixing the price of lots at $5.00 each; (2) authorizing the secretary to place deeds and charter in one of the Pampa banks; (3) authorizing the purchase of blank deeds.

On October 14, 1908, a meeting was held at the Barrett Land Office. The president was authorized to reimburse himself for procuring seal, charter and blank deeds.

The association met May 22, 1909, at the Gray County State Bank. Lots had been bought and paid for by William Jackson, Sam McCullough, S.C. Case, C.N. Baggerman, W. Campbell and A.B. Keahey.

At a meeting in the office of The Pampa News on January 24, 1914, C.P. Buckler was elected secretary of the association, a position he filled for many years.

In 1915 the White Deer Land Company deeded another five acres to the association and in 1925, the association purchased three acres of adjoining property from W.T. Wilks.

The original 25-year charter was furthered in 1933 when the association formed a 50-year program on a non-profit charter.

In 1938 the cemetery was chartered by the state for a perpetual care program. Now twenty percent of each space purchased goes into the Perpetual Care Fund.

On April 6, 1933, Ed Foran was employed as caretaker of Fairview Cemetery . He had come to Pampa in 1926, first working at a hamburger stand operated by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Young at the corner of Foster and Cuyler, and then for the Santa Fe. Through his acquaintance with undertaker G.C. Malone and Judge Blythe, he was hired to manage the cemetery.

At the time, cows and pigs were running loose through the cemetery grounds, so the first order of business was to keep the animals out. Foran and the National Recovery Administration work crew built a fence which stayed in place until the Texas legislature passed a cattle law requiring the owners of livestock to keep their animals penned.

The fence was then removed and shrubbery was planted at the front of the cemetery on Duncan Street . Foran supervised the planting of much of the shrubbery by hand from seedlings.

Foran also supervised the planting of trees. In the 1970s about 300 trees had to be removed because of the cost of water and the fact that tree roots were threatening to topple tombstones.

Before the main roads of the cemetery were paved, Foran had to get winch trucks to extricate hearses from the mud whenever it rained. Townspeople going to the cemetery also remember the sticky mud on Duncan Street, then part of the old road to Miami.

At the time Foran was hired, there was $1,500 in the cemetery treasury. Some of it was used to build the two small buildings at the front of the cemetery (the old entrance south of the present main entrance).

When Foran retired in 1974, the size of the cemetery had increased from 12.5 acres to 32.5 acres. The number of graves had increased from 960 to over 5,000.

The present main gateway of the cemetery was financed by the Gray-Pampa Foundation that administers the estate of Henry B. and Fannie Lovett. The black iron fence enclosing the cemetery was financed by the M.K. Brown Foundation in 1984.

The cemetery currently employs five full-time workers, but extra help is needed during the summer months.

The present Board of Directors of Fairview Cemetery Association consists of Lee Fraser, president; Ben Guill and E.L. Green, Jr., vice presidents; Floyd Watson, treasurer; Bill Waters, member-at-large and Les Weatherly, secretary and manager.

Throughout the years the Fairview Cemetery Association has shown a genuine concern to provide a resting place of permanent beauty.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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